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119 abandoned babies at Gauteng hospitals last year


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119 abandoned babies at Gauteng hospitals last year

7th November 2022


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/ MEDIA STATEMENT / The content on this page is not written by, but is supplied by third parties. This content does not constitute news reporting by

The tragedy of abandoned babies continues in Gauteng with 119 babies left without parents at hospitals last year.

This compares with 145 abandoned babies in 2020, and 56 babies abandoned in Gauteng hospital from January to August this year.


These figures are disclosed by the Gauteng Health Department in a written reply to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature.

Thelle Mogoerane Hospital was the worst affected, with 15 abandoned babies last year.


Other hospitals with significant numbers include the following:

  • Tembisa Hospital - 13
  • Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital - 12
  • Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Hospital - 12
  • Leratong Hospital - 11
  • George Mukhari Hospital - 10
  • Far East Rand Hospital - 7
  • Sebokeng - 7
  • Edenvale Hospital - 6
  • Mamelodi Hospital - 5

The hospitals all identify the poor socio-economic background of mothers as a major reason for babies abandoned in their wards.

Other reasons include the following:

• babies born from broken relationships.
• deliberate furnishing of wrong identifying details by migrant mothers due to fear of deportation.
• babies born disabled, so mothers abandon them.
• unplanned pregnancies.
• poor support system, fear of rejection by partner or family.
• teenagers conceal their pregnancies to avoid social stigmatisation.
• sex workers with repeat deliveries.
• admitted substance abuse mothers give birth then abandon babies because they need a quick fix.

Missing or wrong contact details for mothers is frequently mentioned by hospitals.

Some babies are brought to hospital after they are dumped in the veld, streets or dustbins.

The Covid pandemic worsened the socio-economic circumstances that lead to abandoned babies.

It is clear that this is a tragic and multi-faceted issue which needs a variety of preventive measures.

These measures should include family preservation, and better provision of contraceptive services, especially to teenagers

One example given is a doctor at Pholosong hospital who goes to schools to educate teenagers not to fall pregnant.

There are worthy NGOs who do good work in this area as well.

The support options for new mothers at risk should be strengthened and communicated widely so that no mother ever feels forced to leave her child forever.


Issued by Jack Bloom MPL - DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health



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